World Car Free Day: Where in Camden would benefit from going car-free?

Al fresco dining areas, pavement widening and new traffic restrictions on St John’s Wood High Stre

Al fresco dining areas, pavement widening and new traffic restrictions on St John's Wood High Street. - Credit: Polly Hancock

Camden Council is asking residents to get in touch as it seeks further suggestions for locations and ideas for World Car Free Day in September. 

Hampstead and South End Green have already been earmarked as areas that will go without cars on September 22

The initiative was conceived following a series of public consultations held by the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum for its neighbourhood plan, in which the most common requests for the high street were for clean air, less traffic noise and to be more pleasant for walking. 

Stephen Taylor, chair of the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum, said that he was speaking with Camden Cllr Adam Harrison who suggested the World Car Free Day as an opportunity to, as Stephen puts it, get “a taste of a possible new normal”. 

The result will be a day where, other than emergency services, cars and other vehicles will be completely absent, allowing residents the chance to experience what a such a potential future may be like. 

The forum is now asking for suggestions from residents as to what could be done during the day, from hosting a marching band to a treasure hunt on the temporarily car-free streets. 

The common responses to the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum's consultation included clean air and less traffic noise

The most common responses to the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum's consultation were requests for the high streets to have clean air, less traffic noise and to be more pleasant for walking - Credit: Polly Hancock

Alicia Pivaro, chair of the Highgate Neighbourhood Forum, believes that Highgate could also benefit from getting involved in World Car Free Day. 

She said: “The HNF and other organisations, including the Highgate Society, have been discussing the idea of a car free day in Highgate recently as the issue of traffic in the village and the narrow High Street are recurring concerns for locals.  

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“Many people worry that reduced traffic will impact businesses but transforming Highgate into a more pleasant place for people to visit regularly, shop, eat, and most importantly stay will only enhance support for our cherished local businesses, pubs and cafes.” 

Cllr Adam Harrison, cabinet member for a sustainable Camden, said: “World Car Free Day is one of the ways that enables more people to experience, at first hand, the many benefits for a neighbourhood of reduced motor traffic. 

“We are happy to assist our local communities with the process of applying for any road closures that they may wish to request as part of World Car Free Day.” 

Residents are encouraged to contact the council at playstreets@camden.gov.uk to share any ideas they have for World Car Free Day.